Today we are continuing our reflection from yesterday.
We know the plight of many marriages, how some came about in the most difficult circumstances. The Church also wants to turn to those as a mother who have failed in their marriage for a variety of reasons and have entered into a new connection. The sick need the doctor, not the healthy, Jesus calls us in the Gospel (cf. Mt 9,12).
So if Catholics are in such a situation, but long to be united with the Lord and the Church and want to recieve the Holy Communion, then there are two ways for them:
They would have to give up the second connection in their sexual dimension and to separate. This can, of course, be a painful process, because deep bonds are existing through sexual acts. If one can no longer return to the existing sacramental marriage, one is called to go the way with God without marital intercourse.
The Church knows another way, if there are, for example, children from the second connection. Then there is the possibility to continue living together, but like brother and sister what means without sexual interaction.
The inner logic is clear, because in this way the existing marriage bond is not violated and the person concerned returns objectively to the state of grace and corresponds to the repentance demand of the Gospel.
Now there is the possibility to receive Communion, for one follows the divine direction of the Lord with regard to marriage. In addition, any admission to the Holy Communion without meeting the Lord’s repentance demand can confuse other believers and cause trouble.
Influential circles in the Church now believe that this regulation is too legalistic and that some situations should be examined on a case-by-case basis. It could be that there is little or virtually no guilt as to how one got into such a situation. An accompanying priest should examine the individual case and then leave the decision to the conscience of the persons concerned. There are also situations in which the invalidity of marriage could no longer be established in certain circumstances, but there was a moral certainty that it never existed. Those who support such a possibility see it as an act of God’s mercy and to receive the Holy Communion may be granted as a cure.
All these considerations have in common that they want to reach that the Holy Communion will be given without the second union being dissolved or
the demand for abstinence. This view is seen by them as a further development of doctrine and as a practice of pastoral mercy.
Others see this way as a violation of the church’s previous practice and emphasize the validity of the previous approach to this subject, which corresponds to the teachings of the Church, and do not want to follow this new pastoral path. It should not be forgotten that this does not lead to considerable tensions in the Church and that entire Episcopal Conferences have different views on this subject.
Personally I, Elija, see no reason to change the past practice of the Church. People who live in a second connection can participate in the life of the Church. They are not excluded, but they should find wise accompaniment in order to arrange their situation in the light of God.
It is very important to understand their situation better and better in order to offer them appropriate assistance.
The aim of pastoral care can only be to find the way that will make them live objectively again in the state of grace. Although their personal guilt may be very low, the continued sexual act with another person is a deception and violates the truth of marriage. True mercy must include this dimension, for it has in mind not only the personal mental distress of the person who wants to remedy it, but also, in particular, his transcendent destiny, and this cannot hide the objective truth or underexposed.
Even if the rare case arises that one can proceed with moral certainty from the invalidity of marriage, it is important to note the second dimension, that no irritations arises for other believers and to act accordingly to avoid confusion.
The Catholic Church has a great good to protect here, for it is probably the only great community of faith that defends the sanctity of marriage against all attempts to weaken it. This is a great task today, because there are so many disorderly relationships, and it is a great challenge to respond to and witness to the will of God without restrictions and compromises.
Surely we can count on the mercy of God if we do not reach completly the
great goal of living in complete harmony with the will of God. But we must not abandon or weaken the objective truth and we must make a sincere effort to fullfill the will of God.
The world needs this testimony even when it has taken other paths and lives far from the commandments of God!